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A take on the 2010 LB situation


juiceaccts
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Here's my take:

MLB is Lofton -- no questions.

We've got 3 guys to fill 2 spots... what to do?

SLB typically lines up with the TE and covers him or fights his (TE/RT/FB) block to tackle the RB. Sometimes considered the bulkier one out of the two OLBs.

WLB obviously takes the other slot and often drops into coverage or shoot the gap to tackle the RB. Considered the quicker one with better coverage skills.

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Peterson brings a little bit of playmaking ability with leadership and experience. Probably the slowest of all our LBs but played the best in coverage last year. (played WLB last year)

Nicholas has speed and size and played better and better as the year went on. This was his first year starting. 6'3" about 230. Runs in the 4.6s. (SLB last year)

Weatherspoon runs in the 4.6s, is also about 230, and is 6'1". Good coverage skills, probably better than Nicholas, and Peterson even. Invigorator. Will probably be the guy pumping our players up in the pre-game huddle in the future, but I don't know how he'll be in his rookie year.

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I'll have to reference Pro Football Focus for the rest of this, but here's what I think, in my attempt to be brief (yeah right):

# of snaps in run defense

Peterson: 444 (85 solo tackles, 2 FF)

Nicholas: 344 (62 solo tackles, 1 FF)

# of snaps in coverage

Peterson: 485 (1 int, 4 passes defensed)

Nicholas: 287 (3 passes defensed)

# of snaps rushing the passer

Peterson: 109 (1 sack, 1 hit, 5 pressures)

Nicholas: 47 (3 sacks, 2 hits, 5 pressures)

# of snaps total

Peterson: 1038

Nicholas: 678

I don't know about you, but those stats really make me think. Nicholas saw about 1/3 fewer snaps than Peterson.

The tackle stats are proportional, and the FFs/INT are negligable. However, with 200 fewer snaps in coverage he has only one fewer pass defensed. According to PFF their percentage of passes caught in their coverage is within 4%. About the same yards allowed after catch.

When rushing the passer, Nicholas impacted the play (sacks + hits + pressures) about 21% of the time while Peterson only about 6%.

So why did Nicholas see the field only 2/3 as much as Peterson? My conclusion: experience. When one of the LBs had to be taken off, it was the first year starter. They had to leave Peterson out there to make calls.

If you look at our defense, TD infused each position with a vet of their own. Coleman at S, Williams at CB, Peterson at LB, Abe on DL.

TD has said he sees Spoon at WLB, but then what happens if he starts? Do we move Peterson to SLB and sit Nicholas? Do we sit Spoon and work him in little by little? Tough decision. I suppose it would depend on how quickly he adjusts to the NFL and how quickly he learns our playbook.

What I see:

Nic starts at SLB again with Lofton at MLB and Peterson at WLB.

Spoon sees a few snaps a game (plays ST as well) until the 4th - 6th game where he comes in at the WLB position as a full-time starter.

What does everyone else think?

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I can get with that. Thanks for the stats so that the people stating that Nicholas is going to be benched can see the impact that Nicholas had. Nicholas is our best pass rusher at LB, so why would you sit our best pass rusher when we struggled getting pressure on the QB, and our LB struggled to get to the QB when the blitz was called( I do think the conservative blitzes has something to do with it too). I think that Nicholas was the most consistent coverage LB before spoon. Peterson lack of speed and age hurt him as the season progressed, so I do think that Spoon will probably see full time playing time by the 4th -6th game as you indicate, but they did indicate to spoon that alot would be expected of him so he could be starting for Peterson sooner. I also think that Peterson understood what his long term role would be last year, He knew he would be a stop gap option.

Thanks for the post and clearing up the BS about Nicholas's effectiveness compared to the other LB on our roster.

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Probably the slowest of all our LBs but played the best in coverage last year. (played WLB last year)

Peterson was terrible in coverage. Nicholas was our best coverage LBer.

Nice post overall though, but I think Spoon is definitely a day one starter. It's Peterson vs Nicholas for SLB, and I think Nicholas wins that battle. Peterson is a quality backup that can fill in at all three positions.

Edited by yesmann
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Peterson was terrible in coverage. Nicholas was our best coverage LBer.

Nice post overall though, but I think Spoon is definitely a day one starter. It's Peterson vs Nicholas for SLB, and I think Nicholas wins that battle. Peterson is a quality backup that can fill in at all three positions.

I dunno. He allowed a lower average yardage per catch and also had the lower completion percentage of the two.

Could be a scheme thing.

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I think this is what the FO will do. They will give Weatherspoon a chance to win the job in training camp. He will start off running with the 2's like Jerry did last year. If he doesn't win the job before the start of the season. Then they will start him off playing in the Nickle package using his coverage skills, and then he will eventually take over in the base package as well. I hope to see him starting day one, like Lofton.

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I dunno. He allowed a lower average yardage per catch and also had the lower completion percentage of the two.

Could be a scheme thing.

What wasn't included in the analysis which is probably the most important factor and can also be found PFF. Peterson gave up 4 TDs compared to 0 from Nichols. That was the main reason why I was so much more in favor of OLB versus any other position it affects coverage and pass rush.

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I think this is what the FO will do. They will give Weatherspoon a chance to win the job in training camp. He will start off running with the 2's like Jerry did last year. If he doesn't win the job before the start of the season. Then they will start him off playing in the Nickle package using his coverage skills, and then he will eventually take over in the base package as well. I hope to see him starting day one, like Lofton.

Sounds plausible. I could also see Peterson moving to SLB (like that guy above thinks he played last season) and playing in front of Nicholas until 2011. Then, naturally Spoon takes the WLB spot.

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how did peterson play WLB last year? He played strong side which is the side opposite of the tight end who usually lines up next to the RT.

On Madden maybe.

Peterson played WLB, which if you're from the QBs prospective, is the left side, around the LT. Most TEs generally line up on the right, next to the RT. The strongside linebacker generally lines up on the right side of the offensive formation because that is usually the strong side of the formation. In our scheme, there isn't a difference between the WLB and the SLB, they both have the same responsibilities.

Concerning the rest of the thread. I will be surprised if Peterson is a starter this season. Peterson was brought in as a stop gap, not a long term solution.

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On Madden maybe.

Peterson played WLB, which if you're from the QBs prospective, is the left side, around the LT. Most TEs generally line up on the right, next to the RT. The strongside linebacker generally lines up on the right side of the offensive formation because that is usually the strong side of the formation. In our scheme, there isn't a difference between the WLB and the SLB, they both have the same responsibilities.

Concerning the rest of the thread. I will be surprised if Peterson is a starter this season. Peterson was brought in as a stop gap, not a long term solution.

Not bad. Like it. Know one thing for sure, brees's job just became more difficult. We have improved dramatically by snaring the best dam all-around LB in the entire country. We are taking big steps boys.cool.gif

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